Friday, July 23, 2010

The Greatest Packing List of All Time

This is the mother of all packing lists. I use it as a starting point for every trip. The best part is that everything fits into one bag. This list has evolved and expanded now that I have three children to pack for--it's two-bag travel. You can find it at

When I taught high school, I took students to Europe several times. I handed this out to my high-schoolers to help them and their parents prepare. The day after I distributed it, at least five kids came in with the same question. They and their parents wanted to know why they needed contraceptives for the trip--it was on the list...oops.

Tailor it to meet your own needs and you'll be prepared for anything.

dressy jacket

2-4 shirts/blouses/tops

2 pairs trousers/skirts (shorts?)

3+ pairs socks

3+ pairs undergarments

long (lightweight) underwear


dark (cardigan) sweater

rainwear (umbrella?)

parka, coat, or equivalent

long T-shirt or sarong [cover-up]

necktie, scarf, hairband, bandanna

gloves / mittens

sun hat / knitted cap, hat clip

1 pair dressy shoes (laces?)

1 pair walking shoes/boots (laces?)

flip-flops or sandals


travel pack or shoulder bag
(& luggage cart?)

daypack (fanny pack? purse?)

lightweight duffel/laundry bag

luggage lock(s) (cable?)

alarm clock/watch (batteries?)

flashlight, headstrap, extra batteries (bulbs?)

multipurpose tool, scissors

spoon (fork? chopsticks? spork?),
(coffee tin lid) plate or bowl



door stop [for security]

inflatable travel pillow

hostel sheet bag (sleeping bag?
bivouac sack? blanket? tent?)

safety pins, rubber bands, cord

sewing kit, including large needle
to accommodate dental floss

(Ziploc®) plastic bags, garbage bags

duct/gaffer's tape (packing tape?)

toothbrush, cap, tooth cleaner, floss

razor, blades, shaving oil/cream

comb and/or hairbrush

shampoo, bar soap & container


nail clippers

[unbreakable] mirror

viscose towel (washcloth?)

universal (flat) sink stopper

detergent, spot remover

(surgical latex braid) clothesline (carabiner?)

inflatable hangers [to dry clothes]

toilet paper, water squirt bottle,
antibacterial wipes

(chemical or mechanical) water purifier

analgesic of choice

diarrhea treatment of choice

infection treatment of choice

malaria tablets

insect repellent, mosquito net

sunscreen, lip balm


bandages (other first aid?)

menstrual, contraceptive,
and/or prophylactic supplies

vitamins, necessary medications

(collapsible) plastic water bottle & cup

dark glasses, retainer, case

lens cleaning cloth/supplies, copy
of prescription (spare glasses?)

earplugs (eye mask?) [to ease sleep]

pen(s), small notebook, glue stick
[for notes, addresses, diary, …]

personal address book (stamps?)

maps, guidebooks, phrase books, Post-it® notes, restaurant lists, membership cards, business/calling cards, telephone access numbers

reading material

large envelopes [to mail things home]

passport, visas, extra passport photos, vaccination certificates

copies of important documents

(international?) driver's license, health insurance information

travel tickets

charge & ATM cards, cash (traveller's cheques?)

2 personal cheques

security pouch [worn under clothes]

Specialty Items

camera (lenses? flash? tripod? extra cards & batteries? charger? download adapter?)

cellular telephone (charger?)

laptop computer (flash drive? power cord/adapters? network cable(s)?)

(solar) calculator


1 comment:

  1. this totally helps! I''m the worst packer of all times...always take too much. Thanks!